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Possible changes to Stand Your Ground
Changes could be on the way for Florida's Stand Your Ground Law.
A senate committee today approved, clarifying who can use the stand your ground defense, authorizing law enforcement to investigate all claims of self-defense, and setting specific guidelines for neighborhood watch groups.
Channel Three's Jenise Fernandez explains.
This legislation passed unanimously Monday, even though stand your ground is a topic that usually splits down party lines.
Part of this bill would not only make the stand your ground law clearer, but give neighborhood watch groups a set of guidelines to follow.
Last year, neighborhood watch volunteer, George Zimmerman, was acquitted in the death of Trayvon Martin.
Since then, the Stand Your Ground Law has been in the spotlight, creating protests across the country.
President of the grand Cedars Neighborhood Watch Group, Andre Hall, says he likes the idea of more specific guidelines.
He believes it'll help with any confusion volunteers may have about what they can or can't do.
"What we need to do is report and observe and then report so I think there was confusion around that."
Escambia County has about 120 neighborhood watch groups.
All are strongly encouraged to attend training offered by the Sheriff's Office.
This legislation would have the Florida Department of Law Enforcement develop a uniform training curriculum.
It would include anything from crime prevention techniques, to unlawful use of force.
"Having a standard curriculum that everybody follows that they're trained on, would make a big difference."
Watch group volunteers won't be able to confront a person suspected of unlawful activity, but they could step in to rescue a person in danger or call out to warn off an assailant.
"I think it's good to clarify what people should be able to do and what they shouldn't be able to do."
A house criminal justice panel already rejected outright repeal of the law. This legislation is the first significant compromise.
"I think people should be able to defend themselves... fear the consequences."
Legislation must go through two more committees before being considered for a full floor vote.
Reporting in Escambia County, Jenise Fernandez, Channel Three News.